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Divers spot big snook on area reef

August 16, 2013
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

While fishing your favorite grouper hideout this weekend don't be surprised if you end up with a jumbo snook on your line.

Snook travel offshore to beat the heat in deeper waters and offshore divers report some reef locations loaded with them.

Snook, redfish, tarpon, sharks, snappers, some pompano are still in the passes and biting. Snook still on the beach and surf vacations as long as the water remains hot. All snook don't spawn at the same time with the process starting in May and continuing through fall with some not spawning at all skipping a season.

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Capt. George Tunison

All snook start life as males and you can be sure that big snook you just caught is a female. Treat her with respect and release her, unless it's Sept. ,1 she's in the slot, and you've been waiting forever for a good linesider barbecue.

It won't be long before a welcome cool down brings the redfish to school all along the east and west sides of the harbor. Sometime in September through December we are blessed with large schools of reds pushing bait up on the flats. A couple gold spoons and a topwater or two is all you need to catch these ultra-completive redfish as they move along scouring the bottom in large numbers.

Actually, over the last 10 years many say they've seen a big change in the school numbers during these peak schooling times. We aren't seeing the mass schools like five years ago, but smaller groups patrolling the flats. Increased pressure is one issue I'm sure.

Many folks don't like pole and troll zones and in many cases I agree. That said, in this case I've always thought the perfect spot to be is the Burnt Store Bar, both south and north of Burnt Store Marina. If there ever was a prime spot for a no motor zone this is it. The fishing there at times can be red hot with nice schooling reds, tarpon, sharks, big lone gator trout, that is till someone from the Marina blasts down the shoreline inside the bar.

I've had wading clients across the bar fishing with 60 mph bay boats flying between them. Game over. It wouldn't take much for boats leaving the marina to go out past the islands outside the bar before heading south or north.

This small inconvenience is trivial compared to the great fishing possibilities with the bar becoming a P&T zone. Also there would be no vast area closures to gas motors, this is a relatively small area we're talking about and fishing would explode along with renewed grass and marine life.

For now, the heat and tannin stained waters of summer are driving many fish closer to the Gulf and offshore to cooler clearer less polluted and more oxygenated waters.

Without a mass outcry from the public the Everglades will continue to degrade and Lake O will continue to pollute our rivers killing our sea grasses, marine life, and causing red tides. The health of Florida Bay through to the Keys depends on healthy and abundant water flowing naturally south being purified along the way by the Great Swamp.

After finding out there are drones over America, and every text, tweet, email and cell conversation you've had in recent years is on file, and there aren't millions in the streets protesting, gives me little hope for a mass public outcry about anything anymore, including the ongoing dire situation caused by altering the course of water flowing naturally south to the Everglades.

For now, inshore lure slingers might trade in there spoons for cut bait soaked as far back in the shade of a mangrove branch as possible. That's were redfish will be snoozing till he gets a whiff of that stinky ladyfish chunk.

Tip: Fish reds only under mangroves branches with leaves. No leaves no shade no fish.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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